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Battle Ground Public Schools’ CAM Academy will need new home

Cornerstone Christian Academy buys building used by alternative school

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
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On June 1, Cornerstone Christian Academy purchased the building currently housing Battle Ground Public Schools' CAM Academy for $3.5 million. Now, the Battle Ground district leadership is seeking opinions of families and the community regarding what's next for CAM Academy. CCA plans to lease the building to BGPS in 2021-22 while the district looks for a new location for the alternative school.
On June 1, Cornerstone Christian Academy purchased the building currently housing Battle Ground Public Schools' CAM Academy for $3.5 million. Now, the Battle Ground district leadership is seeking opinions of families and the community regarding what's next for CAM Academy. CCA plans to lease the building to BGPS in 2021-22 while the district looks for a new location for the alternative school. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

With Cornerstone Christian Academy’s move to a permanent space, Battle Ground Public Schools’ CAM Academy will need to find a new home.

Officials announced that the small Vancouver private school purchased the building that currently houses CAM Academy, located at 715 N.W. Onsdorff Blvd. in Battle Ground, for $3.5 million on June 1.

Cornerstone Christian Academy won’t relocate until the 2022-23 school year, giving Battle Ground school district leadership time to find a new home for CAM Academy, an alternative school that serves 451 students in grades three through 12.

As part of the conditions of the sale, Cornerstone Christian Academy will lease the building to Battle Ground Public Schools for the 2021-22 school year. The lease agreement received school board approval Monday.

Cornerstone Christian Academy Superintendent Sandra Yager called the opportunity to purchase the building “a miracle” and part of the continuing changes and growth for the school.

This is the first brick-and-mortar school building in Cornerstone Christian Academy’s 38 years. The school first opened on the Crossroads Community Church property and has operated the past three years in portables at 10818 N.E. 117th Ave., near Faith Center Church.

Yager, who just finished her second year as superintendent after 18 years in the Hockinson School District, said Cornerstone Christian Academy leadership had looked for a more permanent option for years.

She said the option to purchase the building from longtime owner Gary Albers came quickly and unexpectedly in March when a “considerable donation” and pledge helped make the sale happen. More than half of the purchase price already has been paid; the remaining $1.5 million will be paid in time, Yager said.

Cornerstone Christian Academy serves 240 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, but growth is on the horizon.

It will welcome its first ninth-grade class this fall, and Yager said the school will keep the portables at its current location for its early childhood education program. The school is still working on a transition plan with Battle Ground.

“What it does, certainly, is it opens up more possibilities,” Yager said. “It really exponentially gives us the chance for growth.”

Since Battle Ground Public Schools opened CAM Academy in 1996, it has leased the building from Albers, who’s a teacher at CAM Academy. This school year, the district paid $513,240 — or $42,770 monthly — for use of the building.

In a letter sent to families, Battle Ground Superintendent Mark Ross wrote that he was “surprised and disappointed” by the news of the sale. The school district also had been in negotiations for 18 months with Albers to purchase the building, additional parking and a recreational area.

“We realize that this news is disappointing and raises concerns about the future of CAM,” Ross wrote.

Ross said the district plans to seek family and community input on future options for CAM Academy.

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